Wednesday, May 11

The evolving door

I know that sometimes we all feel that our front doors are revolving doors, but today's story is about my evolving door.

Recently I wrote about the fact that we were finally getting around to giving our door some much-needed attention. Having been weather-beaten for 11 years, it was really needing some love, as you can see in this photo from last Christmas:

Honestly, I'm a big fan of painted doors. But this door is solid mahogany, and it seemed a shame to paint over that beautiful wood, so we opted to call in the pros and have it refinished.  After two days of careful sanding and the application of a rich mahogany stain, we were left with this:

Not what I was hoping for, to say the least. Honestly, it looked as if it had been salvaged from a fire.

About this point in the process, I was a basket case. I would cringe every time I looked at the door. "I hate that stupid door," I would mutter to myself.  Sometimes I would look at it and hope it could be saved; other times I would dream of simply replacing it with another door. "A different door would really be so much better," I would think to myself.

My husband, thank God, was much more realistic and cheerful about the situation. "I'm sure that something can be done to make it look better," he said. He had to leave on a business trip before the door folks came back, so he left me with a caution not to stress myself out. "The only outcome that would make me unhappy is if I had to buy a new door," he told me.

Yes, well. I guess that was a silly idea.

Anyway, the pros sent their best stain master to figure out how to handle my door. He was stumped as to what had happened to the door during the sanding and staining process, so he turned his attention to coming up with a solution. Wary of doing more sanding, he stripped a portion of the door and tried product after product, looking for a stain that would cover all the flaws and produce a fairly uniform finish.

To be honest, I just tried to stay out of his way during this process, afraid that nothing was going to work. "Don't you worry," he said. "We'll figure something out."

Finally, he did. Almost as a last resort, he tried the most highly pigmented stain he had in his kit.

And it worked.

It's not what I originally envisioned. Although I wanted the door to be darker than it was, I wouldn't have chosen for it to be quite this dark. Since parts of the door looked almost as if they'd been burned, he had to use a darker stain than we'd hoped. C'est la vie, right?

You know what? It's okay. It's really okay. Look:

No, it's not exactly what I had envisioned, but it's fine.  And it's our door--the same door that has opened for us day after day for 11 years. The door that has closed tight to keep out the blistering heat of summer and the bone-chilling cold of winter. The door that has held the wreaths of 12 Christmases. The door that opened wide to accommodate the gurney paramedics used to wheel my husband out to an ambulance. The door that opened to welcome us home after open-heart surgeries and a stroke. The door that has opened for innumerable friends and family to enter our home.

No wonder it was beat up and scarred, considering all that it's done over the years.

It was time for the door to be refinished, yes. But that door has taught me some lessons about myself.

I tend to concentrate on my flaws, fretting about the way I look--or the way I think I look. I fret and worry myself to distraction sometimes, wishing that I looked just a certain way. In my worst moments, I want to give up on myself. And yet it's this very body of mine that has given birth to three beautiful children. These hands have been rubbed raw from washing dishes and wiping brows. These knees have become rough from crawling with babies and hunting for Lego pieces and praying for teenagers. This brow is furrowed from days and nights of working and studying and planning. These laugh lines have formed from the delight of living with zany boys. My scars tell my story, and it's beautiful.

Just like the door, I don't need to be replaced. I may need a little extra loving attention from time to time, but I shouldn't give up on myself.

How about you? Do you ever feel weathered by the years? Maybe you could use a little special attention, too--but don't give up on yourself. Your scars tell your story, and you're beautiful.


A door evolves through difficulties and setbacks


  1. When I got to your beautiful application of truth ... I was sure glad you hadn't replaced that door.


  2. OH yes, the longer we live the more scars but that makes us special and interesting.

  3. Your door turned out beautiful! Dark, rich...maybe not your first vision, but beautiful...

  4. Your door turned out beautiful! Dark, rich...maybe not your first vision, but beautiful...

  5. Actually I think it looks wonderful. Wood is a complex natural product and accept stain or paper in a variety of ways, even the same board will behave differently. And usually there is a fix and this one for your door is beautiful.

  6. that should be 'paint' not paper...I really can spell!

  7. It looks lovely. So glad it turned out after all.

  8. Oh this post is so precious. I so can relate. I look at how "old" I look and feel sometimes. Then I think about the same things, open heart surgery, burying a husband, building a life as a single mom with 3 children. Starting over with another man and spending the last 32 years with him building another life and memories. With our blended family we have 5 children and l2 grandchildren and 2 greats. How could I not look a little old and weathered sometimes. Just like your beautiful door, I put a little putty and stain on and walk through life with a smile and gratitude. This post really is precious and you have weathered so many storms, just like that door. God Bless.

  9. I LOVE the door!!!!....All's well that ends well!!!...You fretted as you are a perfectionist and that is not a bad thing....So glad you love it! Looks beautiful!

  10. It's beautiful! Your door is what I would love to replace our outdated 1970's style front door. I know that was stressful for you, but thank goodness for a husband to try and soothe the tension a little (mine does too) and it's beautiful now!

  11. What a great analogy of the door and our lives. We all have a "story" and I praise God that each time that I need "refinishing" after a chapter/season of my life has been walked through, He is faithful to be ready, willing and able to apply just the only "stain" that will cover my transgressions, grief, trials and pain... a reminder of His precious Blood that was shed for all. Thanks for sharing you "story".

  12. Richella, Well spoken and such truth! Love your door! Many blessings for the years to come and
    you go "in and out" that door with your wonderful family!

  13. What a great post and a wonderful reminder. And your door looks gorgeous!!

  14. Thank you for sharing this special post and your door transformation with us too, at TOHOT!

  15. I would have been in tears over the first result of the door refinishing! It turned out very nicely.

    I love what you said about our scars telling a story! Its the truth!

    Beautiful post!


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